Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick, is a pioneering 4-hour PBS documentary series with an ambitious outreach and public health impact campaign to help reframe the nation’s debate over health and what we as a society can—and should—do to reduce our socio-economic and racial health disparities. The centerpiece of the series is an hour-long opening episode that sets up the overarching themes of the series: health and longevity are correlated with socioeconomic status; people of color face an additional burden; and solutions lie not in more pills or better genes, but in better social policies.
The opening episode is supported by six additional half-hour segments set in different racial and ethnic communities. Each deepens the understanding of the root causes of disease, illuminates pathways by which social conditions affect physiology, and brings viewers face to face with innovative initiatives for health equity. The series was broadcast in March – April 2008. Information about the series and the public health impact campaign is available online.
The Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity is committed to the promotion of this initiative to advance health equity within a social justice framework. This will be accomplished using the following comprehensive strategies: facilitating statewide town hall meetings; supporting local health districts in conducting screenings and community forums; and providing resources consisting of community action toolkits, event flyers, press releases, and fact sheets to agency partners, major stakeholders and community-based organizations.